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Taking the expression "you've gone too far" into the past, do we change it to "you went too far" or not? Is doesn't sound okay to me if we change it, since it's a fixed expression.

  • Yesterday, when you were shouting at your boss, you've gone too far and that's why he fired you.
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    Why not? "Jonathan Gruber, the economist who was a key consultant on both the Massachusetts and national health care overhauls, said yesterday he went too far in an interview by saying Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “is lying’’ by trying to draw sharp distinctions between the two laws." – V.V. Nov 8 '17 at 8:55
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    The phrase is "GO too far", where GO can be any tense. I would not take that course of action, if I were you. You will have gone too far. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 8 '17 at 12:40
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Could you please turn your comment into an answer? – SovereignSun Nov 9 '17 at 6:34
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    The present perfect is not an option when there is a time phrase that relegates the action to the past (e.g. yesterday, and when you were shouting). A time phrase in a present perfect construction cannot exclude the present. One or the other must go, the time phrase or the tense. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 9 '17 at 11:15
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The phrase is "GO too far", where GO can be any tense.

I would not take that course of action, if I were you. You will have gone too far.

I told my boss to go jump in a lake. Do you think I might have gone too far?
-- Yes, you went too far.

He told me I had gone too far, but I told him to go jump in a lake.

When we tell people to go jump in a lake, we go too far.

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I think it depends how you use it. Your example

Yesterday, when you were shouting at your boss, you've gone too far and that's why he fired you.

is definitely not OK and you have to use 'went', not 'have gone'. However, you could rephrase it like this:

Yesterday, you were shouting at your boss. He's fired you because you have gone too far

or

Yesterday, you were shouting at your boss. He's firing you because you have gone too far.

The second example alters the meaning a little, though.

In short, I don't see how it's possible to use 'have gone' with 'fired', especially as you use 'when' in the sentence. 'When' introduces a specific past time whereas Present Perfect Simple is not specific about time unless you use 'for' or 'since'.

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